It was no regular day for Wildlife SOS, and our team and staff went above and beyond to ensure that no stone was left unturned. India is a land where guests are greeted with utmost love and respect. The air was filled with excitement as our team in Mathura gathered to warmly welcome Jessica Page, Miss Universe Great Britain 2023, who recently paid a visit to our elephant centre. Accompanying her were Alisha Cowie, the reigning Miss International UK 2023, along with Harriotte Lane and Claudia Todd, finalists in the Miss Universe Great Britain 2023 pageant.
Jessica Page won the title of Miss Universe Great Britain 2023 on July 8, at The Riverfront Theatre & Arts Centre in Newport, Wales, where over 30 other contestants participated. The 27-year-old Liverpool businesswoman will now prepare to represent United Kingdom in the 72nd Miss Universe pageant to be held in November in El Salvador.
Jessica Page’s dedication to raise awareness about the plight of endangered animals and her eagerness to learn more about them is commendable. As the visiting group stepped into the lush grounds of the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre (ECCC), our Head Coordinator of Elephant Project, Shivam Rai, guided them on a tour of the facility. The group was introduced to the food supplements, enrichments, target training sessions, daily walks, and bathing sessions that are provided to the rescued and rehabilitated elephants as part of their daily routine. The attendees were keen to learn about the situations from which the elephants were rescued from, and how these majestic animals adapted to a second chance at life, free from abuse and cruelty. Our hosting team provided an insight into the threats elephants are facing today, and our organisation’s tireless efforts to protect these gentle giants.
The pageant winners also visited the Elephant Hospital Campus (EHC), the only hospital in India dedicated to elephant’s care and wellbeing. Jessica was fascinated by the hospital’s state-of-the-art facilities, especially the weighing machine that has been placed for elephants. She also showed great interest in understanding how the equipment was operated. Jessica met veterinarians and caregivers as well who have wholeheartedly dedicated themselves to to heal these elephants.
Dr. Rahul Prasad and Dr. E. Gochalan apprised the group on the medical laboratory present at EHC, and the numerous technologically advanced tools that are being utilised for elephant care. The visiting party was also informed about the key differences between Asian and African elephants, as well as the fundamentals of elephant anatomy. The team shed light on the frightening reality behind elephant ride attractions in Asia, and our continuing ‘Refuse to Ride’ campaign that aims to raise awareness about how elephants are tortured for their use in the tourism industry.
Moved by the stories of neglect and abuse that elephants are subjected to, Jessica Page voiced her support: “Our visit to the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Centre was a profound experience. I urge everyone to help the organisation enforce their campaign — ‘Refuse To Ride’. I believe this cause is very important especially for tourists to provide a better life to the elephants. I call upon everyone to visit the centre and donate towards the cause.”
The involvement of young influencers advocating for Wildlife SOS is a promising contribution towards wildlife conservation. It carries the potential to motivate and inspire others regarding animal welfare, and spread awareness about the urgent need to protect the coinhabitants of our planet. By showing their sensitivity towards our efforts, the visiting team has voiced their concern about the challenges faced by Asian elephants in India. You too can express your solidarity with this cause by participating in our ‘Refuse to Ride‘ petition! You can also consider becoming a monthly contributor to Wildlife SOS, and support our endeavours towards protecting a keystone species of the wild — the elephants.